With a combined total of nearly 500 caps for the province, Ulster Rugby will recognise the 10 Senior Men’s players confirmed as leaving at the conclusion of the current season.
This weekend’s BKT United Rugby Championship Quarter-Final game at Kingspan Stadium (Friday 5 May, KO 7 35pm) will offer supporters the opportunity to say a fond farewell to the Senior Men’s players confirmed by the club as leavers:
Craig Gilroy (212)
Rob Lyttle (64)
Jordi Murphy (63)
Sam Carter (57)
Duane Vermeulen (34)
Gareth Milasinovich (23)
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (13)
Rory Sutherland (11)
Declan Moore (3)
Frank Bradshaw-Ryan (1)
On the players departing the province at the conclusion of this season, Head Coach Dan McFarland, said:
"All of the players moving on from Ulster can be rightly proud of what they have given to our province, both on and off the pitch.
“It seems fitting that we get to recognise their contribution to the club in front of a home crowd at Kingspan Stadium on one of the biggest nights of our season.
“I know the supporters will join me, and the wider playing group and staff at Ulster, in thanking the guys for the part they have played in our ambitions as a squad, and some unforgettable memories for us all when they lined-out in the white jersey.”
Players will meet supporters, sign autographs, and pose for photos outside the players’ entrance at the back of the Grandstand, from approximately 15 minutes after Full Time on Friday.
A one club man, fan favourite Craig Gilroy announced last month that he was moving on from his home province that he has supported since he was a child. The fleet-footed winger became one of Ulster’s most important players since making his Senior team debut when he was 19 against Cardiff. ‘Gilly’ has played over 200 times for the Ulster men, making 10 Ireland international appearances during that time, and will be remembered as one of Ulster’s finest wingers and top try scorers.
Donaghcloney man, Rob Lyttle, leaves his home province after making his debut back in 2016 having come through the Ulster Academy, playing with Dromore RFC minis and his school rugby with RBAI. Rob has played over 60 times for Ulster, and the winger will be remembered for his finishing skills, with an impressive try scoring rate throughout his Senior career. This includes his recent crossing of the whitewash in an important home win over Sale Sharks in this season’s Champions Cup campaign.
Jordi Murphy, who joined Ulster from interprovincial rival Leinster in 2018, recently announced that he was retiring after an impressive professional career. The versatile forward quickly made himself a prominent member of Head Coach Dan McFarland’s Senior Men’s side since joining. Jordi can also be proud of his international career with 30 caps for Ireland, including a historic match against New Zealand at Soldier Field Stadium in Chicago, where he scored a famous try to help Ireland defeat the then World Champions.
Wallaby Sam Carter leaves Ulster after serving with distinction during his time with the province. The Tamworth-born lock joined Ulster in 2019, after nine years playing Super Rugby with the Brumbies. Carter made 16 appearances for the Australia international side and was utilised as an important squad member of Dan McFarland’s side during his four years with the province, captaining the side on a number of occasions. He is responsible for three tries in an Ulster jersey this season.
World Cup-winning Springbok, Duane Vermeulen, surprised many in the rugby world when he joined the province from the Bulls in 2021. During his time at Ulster, Vermeulen has quickly become a fan favourite, with his all-action performances becoming a regular highlight at Kingspan Stadium. Duane captained Ulster to important wins away against South African opposition earlier this season, a country where he is held in high esteem after an outstanding international career. Vermeulen has 63 caps for his country, including a Player of the Match performance in the 2019 World Cup Final against England.
Gareth Milasinovich leaves Ulster after joining the province back in 2019. The South African-born man, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandfather, has been a reliable squad member for Dan McFarland in the front row. After a difficult first year missed through injury, Milasinovich persevered and has been involved in seven of Ulster’s thirteen wins in this season’s URC.
Capped by the All Blacks and Samoa on the international stage, New Zealand-born prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen leaves Ulster as a fan favourite. Having only joined the club last summer, ‘Big Jeff’ won the admiration from the Ulster faithful with his performances at loosehead, and his personality both on and off the pitch. Ulster supporters will remember a Player of the Match performance against DHL Stormers at Kingspan Stadium when the prop scored a try and pulled out a dancing celebration to the delight of the supporters.
Scotland international, and British and Irish Lions, prop Rory Sutherland joined Ulster on a short-term deal from Worchester Warriors earlier this season. Sutherland immediately boosted Ulster’s front row options and as a big game player was immediately thrust into the action. Sutherland made his debut for the province at Thomond Park when Ulster secured their first away win over Munster since 2014, with the prop playing his part in the victory with several critical second-half turnovers. His form in an Ulster jersey saw him called up to the Scotland 2023 Guinness Six Nations squad.
Declan Moore leaves Ulster for Irish province Connacht on a loan move. The Kiwi born hooker, who grew up in Australia, joined the Ulster men from Munster on a loan deal but was offered a Senior deal after making an impact. Declan scored a try for the province on his debut in the BKT URC against Connacht in February 2022.
Six-foot eight lock, Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, leaves the province after joining from French side Nevers, where he made over 100 appearances in the French Pro D2 league. The Limerick native lined-out for the Ulster ‘A’ side that defeated Munster ‘A’ at the IRFU HPC last weekend, and was capped for Ulster in the province’s 47-17 home win over Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium earlier this season.